Who is Tharman Shanmugaratnam, Indian-origin leader chosen by mainly Chinese voters to be Singapore president?
Tharman Shanmugaratnam, garnered strong support from Singapore's predominantly Chinese society, owing to his lifelong dedication to public service. On September 1, the 66-year-old president-elect secured an impressive 70.4 per cent of the 2.48 million votes cast by local citizens.
Tharman Shanmugaratnam, an Indian-origin economist born in Singapore, is set to assume the role of the ninth president of the city-state today, following his resounding victory in the recent election. On September 1, the 66-year-old president-elect secured an impressive 70.4 per cent of the 2.48 million votes cast by local citizens. Shanmugaratnam garnered strong support from Singapore's predominantly Chinese society, owing to his lifelong dedication to public service in the nation.
Positions Held Earlier
Prior to his election as president, Tharman held several key positions, including Senior Minister from 2019 to 2023, Coordinating Minister for Social Policies from 2015 to 2023, and Chairman of the Monetary Authority of Singapore from 2011 to 2023. He also served as Deputy Prime Minister from May 2011 to May 2019.
Furthermore, Tharman co-chairs the Global Commission on the Economics of Water alongside notable figures like Ngozi Owonjo-Iweala, Mariana Mazzucato, and Johan Rockström.
In contrast, his Chinese-origin rivals, Ng Kok Song and Tan Kin Lian, secured 15.72 percent and 13.88 percent of the votes, respectively. This marked the first contested presidential election since 2011. The incumbent President, Halimah Yacob, will conclude her term on September 13, with the newly elected president serving a six-year tenure.
Tharman is also a member of the Board of Trustees of the World Economic Forum (WEF) and holds a position on the United Nations Secretary-General's High-Level Advisory Board on Effective Multilateralism, which will provide recommendations for the UN Summit of the Future in 2024.
Outside of his professional life, Tharman is a family man with four children alongside his wife, Jane Yumiko Ittogi. Jane, a Singaporean lawyer of Chinese-Japanese descent, actively engages in social enterprise and the nonprofit arts sector.
Tharman's children have embraced diverse paths. His eldest child, Maya, is a social entrepreneur and lawyer, while the second child, Akash, is immersed in the tech industry as a software engineer. The two younger siblings, Krishan and Arjun, are students with interests spanning economics, politics, music, and art.